Hanukkah Lights, Christmas Lights vs Darkness

By | December 7, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Christmas season often coincides with Hanukkah, which is often called the Festival of Lights. But the word means “dedication.” It commemorates the Jewish revolt against the Greco-Syrians, who had defiled the Temple in Jerusalem with pagan statues and tried to eradicate belief in the One God.

The Temple was rededicated and the eternal light rekindled. The usual account is that there was only enough oil for a day, but it burned for eight days until more oil could be obtained. Yet there never was a shortage of olive oil in Israel − there was a shortage of sanctified oil suitable for use in the Temple. The lights mark the distinction between the sacred and the profane, a distinction we have almost lost today.

July Fourth isn’t just hot-dog day. Thanksgiving isn’t just turkey day. Christmas isn’t just presents day. Deleting the deeper significance is like washing clothes in hot water and bleach. The bright colors are dulled, the fresh fabric is frayed, and the clothes look old and shapeless. Even worse, it’s like washing a flag in hot water and bleach. The faded mess is no longer worth saluting. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

No, July Fourth is Independence Day, when we celebrate freedom. Thanksgiving is when we pause to be grateful for our blessings and give thanks to their Source. Christmas is when we observe the birth of Jesus. And Hanukkah is when we recall the difference between the sacred and the profane.

Confucius taught us that it is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. But what would he say about those who curse the candle?

Categories: Political, Religion

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